Emergency refuge needed for Dungannon women after domestic violence reaches record levels
CALLS are growing for a refuge to be established in Dungannon after it was revealed that incidents of domestic abuse in the local district have risen to record levels.
Alarmingly, the number of attacks on females aged under 18 has increased in the local district by seven times since 2005.
There has been a steep rise over the past year in the number of local women and men experiencing domestic abuse according to PSNI figures released this week.
Only Newry and Antrim reported higher rises in domestic abuse.
Last year, there were 173 incidents of domestic violence involving women aged over 18 in the Dungannon District, a rise of 27 on the previous year, and the highest level since current records began.
Attacks on local women aged under 18 rose from 19 to 35 over the past year, again a record high.
Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan has called for a refuge to be established in Dungannon to help the growing number of young women at risk of domestic abuse.
She said she was alarmed by the escalating number of domestic violence reports to Dungannon police.
Ms McGahan said: “While it is a positive move in one way that more women are confident in reporting domestic violence incidents it is however a shock at the numbers of women who are the victims of abuse.
“I am particularly saddened to see that there is a large increase in the number of women under 18 years of age who are now reporting acts of domestic violence.
“In order to give more women confidence to bring the perpetrators of domestic violence to court we need to have a refuge in the Dungannon area where women can seek help.
“Many women feel trapped and are in serious danger if they have no where to go during an incident of domestic violence so it is essential that we have a refuge that can offer immediate help and advice to vulnerable women.
“I intend to meet with the various women support groups and the PSNI in order to explore possibilities of creating a hostel in the Dungannon area.
“In the meanwhile I would plead with anyone suffering from domestic abuse to seek help immediately before a serious incident occurs.”
All agencies agree that the rise in reporting is positive — brought about by a change in attitudes rather than a spike in violence.
If you ’ve been affected by domestic abuse, or would like to speak to someone about domestic abuse, call the Women’s Aid Federation’s 24-hour helpline on 0800 9171414, or the Men’s Advisory Project can be contactedon (028) 90241929 or email email@example.com
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Dungannon
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 9 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South east